Whangarei - The Eastern Seaboard Playground

The Whangarei district covers the south-eastern part of the Northland of New Zealand's North Island. The region spans a distance of 100 kilometres, with the rugged and indented coastline stretching for a total of 200 kilometres. Off shore, you will find scattered islands, including Poor Knights and the Hen and Chicken Islands. The city of Whangarei itself is located just 160 kilometres from the major city of Auckland and is the largest urban centre in the Northland region.

The district of Whangarei offers pleasant contrasts between coastal, inland and cosmopolitan settings. The region is made up of Whangarei city, Bream Bay/ Waipu, Whangarei Heads, Tutukaka Coast, Whananaki/ Whangaruru Harbour and the off shore islands.

Self drive options are a great way to explore the region, with campervans New Zealand the best of these options. There are plenty of places along the Twin Coast Highway to stay the night so you won't ever be stuck without a place to stay. Keep in mind that the roads in this region are windy and often narrow so you should take special care, especially in a campervan, when driving in this region. The driving routes in and around this area are spectacular though, and there are many contrasts along the way that you will definitely have to pull off to the side of the road to take a closer look at!

The Whangarei district offers everything from sand dunes to extinct volcanic cones, rolling, green pastures to rugged headlands and some of New Zealand's finest beaches, many of these, stunning Pacific beaches. The Eastern Seaboard is an obvious playground and is where most of the district's activity occurs. Over 100 beaches and bays span the coastline from Bream Tail in the south and Bland Bay in the north. The beaches and bays offer you opportunities to explore underwater coves, photograph rare sponges, take a dip with rare aquatic life and snorkel among the colourful coral that lives near the surface. You can also take part in the more traditional water sports of swimming, body surfing or board riding, or simply sit on the beach and relax with a good book!

The city of Whangarei is a developing, modern and vibrant hub that is located right in the centre of the district. The city is surrounded by fertile farmlands, open orchards and fantastic forests. The fertile farmlands have made the district known for its quality produce. From exotic sub-tropical fruits to traditional vegetables, there is everything from delicious avocadoes, fresh kiwifruits and even cherimoyas. The growth of such fine local produce is helped by the warm climate, reliable rainfall and productive soils that the district boasts. This local produce is further emphasised in the trendy restaurants in the district, that offer fine dining and culinary delights, all made with what is fresh and local.

Inland you will also find hidden pockets of lush, original rainforest where the giant kauri trees are still dominating. These trees are steeped in Maori folklore and as you trek the rainforest paths you will be able to enjoy these stunning trees in an extremely interactive environment.

On the coastline you will find a stunning harbour and rugged headlands. Tutukaka Harbour is the main port of the district and is where you can embark on a charter of fishing, diving or sightseeing. These charters will take you on the stunning harbours of the area and will allow you to discover the coast in a unique manner. Another great way to explore the coast is by hiring a kayak. This will allow you to discover hidden bays and take your time and find everything that the coast has to offer!

Staying in the Whangarei district is the perfect way to experience fine foods, clever artworks and a classic Kiwi lifestyle. The pleasant contrasts between coastal and inland highlights offer something for everyone and will allow you to enjoy the best of both worlds!

Christine Barton


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